This is it - my first review here at Hocus Pocus!!
In my post from earlier today, I mentioned that I had ordered Alive by Bobby Motta. I certainly was not expecting to receive it so quickly, but the UPS man gave me an early Christmas present.:)
If you're not familiar with this effect, it's available right here at http://www.hocus-pocus.com/. Check out the description and a demo video by following this link:
The basic effect, as Bobby performs it, is that a written prediction is given to a spectator to put into an empty box. A deck of cards is given to the spectator. In the fairest manner possible, a card is selected. The cards all have animals on them, and the spectator winds up with a card that says "rat." The spectator is asked to go to the box and see if the written prediction matches the card. When she opens the box, the spectator is surprised to discover a live rat! The magician takes the rat out to thunderous applause.
First, the props. With this effect, you receive the custom box itself, which allows the spectator to see the box as empty when she drops the prediction inside and then, she herself opens the box and discovers the rat. This is incredibly cool and very fair. Once the trick starts, you do NOT need to touch the box. It is completely hands-free, and I'm sure this thing was a pain to develop. It is a gorgeous prop and thus far, functions beautifully.
You also receive Bill Abbott's Smart-Ass deck, with blank cards, allowing you to do the trick with any force object that will fit comfortably in the box - and it doesn't have to be alive. The Smart Ass deck concept allows you to force a card while he spectator holds the deck and tosses chunks of the deck over her head, allowing cards to spill all over the stage. It is a wonderful visual, and as an avid user of the Smart Ass deck in its original form, I can attest to its power on laypeople in the real world.
You also receive a detailed DVD on the handling. I have to say that in addition to the crystal clear picture and high quality sound, I was REALLY impressed with the look of Bobby's house, if that is indeed his home. Bobby, I want your house!! The DVD includes a live performance and it goes over very well. Bobby uses a bit of profanity in his presentation which did not bother me, but if anyone of strict moral code, be forewarned. Regardless, the DVD is detailed and the instructions clear.
Price: The investment for this routine is $695. From my perspective as a full-timer, I think this is very fair. The box has corner trim and metal guards, so this thing is made to take a beating. Bobby explains how they tried different designs with the box to insure both the rat's safety as well as reliability of the props.
After using a Smart Ass deck for at least a year, I can say that the deck will hold up well, too.
Angles: Once the rat (or whatever you use...limited only by your imagination and the size of the box) is loaded, there are NO angle restrictions. You can do this surrounded, although I personally never do stage shows surrounded, because someone is always going to be looking at the back of my head!!
Venue: Personally, I feel this routine will play best for me in the market I bought this for...high schools. This type of "shock" ending is exactly what high school students and colleges are looking for. I wouldn't personally do this for a corporate event with a rat because some corporate people might be repulsed, but the effect is not limited to using a rat.
There's one point I want to brng up...if you plan on doing this with any living thing, PLEASE consider the comfort of your little friend. Do NOT, please do NOT NOT NOT get a rat or other animal and treat it as a fuzzy prop. It's a living creature and worthy of your respect. Do your research and if you don't feel passionate about accepting the responsibility for caring for animals, then do not do this effect with a live animal. Bobby gives a funny example using an inanimate object on the DVD, and it's one I will probably use when I'm flying to a gig and cannot bring my rat.
Overall Opinion: In short, your investment should last a long time. If you're buying this to fool your friends, it will certainly do that, but it's pretty expensive for hobbyists. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this product.
Overall Rating: If you have not read my previous blog, I will be using a 1 to 10 scale to rate products. I'm proud to say that with my first review, this product gets a solid 10 out of 10. While I have not performed this yet, I have no doubt this will be a winner.